Expect to see a European invasion in Edmonds this week. But the good news is, the invaders are friendly.
It’s all leading up to Rick Steves’ annual Test Drive a Tour Guide event coming this Saturday at the Edmonds Center for the Arts and the Edmonds Theater.
“We have roughly 100 guides in town this week from places like England, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy — indeed, all the countries where we operate tours,” Steves said. “We’ve pretty well taken over the Harbor Inn Hotel, and everyone is eager to get out and experience Edmonds. So expect our various bars, cafes, shops and parks to be buzzing each night with foreign accents. Our guides are an outgoing bunch, and they love to strike up conversations and share their adventures and travel stories. So when you see them, don’t be shy!”
But it’s not all fun and games for the guides (although they may disagree). During the days they’ll partake in a series of workshops designed to fine-tune their various itineraries with the latest information on the best places to see, the best things to do, and the best routes to take in their bus tour programs. But their evenings are open, and that leaves plenty of time to get out, see Edmonds, and get to know the locals (that’s us).
For about 20 years, Steves — whose company takes more than 20,000 Americans around Europe each year on about 900 different bus tours — has hosted this gathering. (See My Edmonds News coverage of the 2015 Test Drive a Tour Guide event here.)
This year’s event culminates on Saturday with about a dozen “Test Drive a Tour Guide” events at the Edmonds Center for the Arts and the Edmonds Theater. Each 75-minute event is free and highlights a different country in Europe.
And to cap off the day, Steves treats the community to what promises to be an entertaining walk back in time. Through photos and personal anecdotes, he takes you back to his roots with “An Irreverent History of Europe Through the Back Door,” detailing what he has come to call his “Europe through the gutter” days. Mark your calendars for 7 p.m. at the Edmonds Center for the Arts for this free fun event.
For more information and to sign up for the various talks, go to Rick Steves’ Test Drive a Tour Guide web page.
— By Larry Vogel